Anti-inflammatory Groceries on a Budget

You don’t need to spend a fortune to be healthy!

Organic Food Myth

Many people believe that if something is organic, it is good for you, and it has no chemicals in it.

Organic food is not necessarily good for you. It is not chemical-free. It is a myth!

Organic means the governing body in that country has deemed those pesticides less toxic than regular pesticides, but remember, organic standards vary around the world. Even if the food producer has gained an organic label, there is still cross-contamination across fields unless it is a large organic farm that uses zero pesticides and is surrounded by a humongous ecosystem protecting itself from pests that can travel through wind and rain. Make sure to do your homework.

Organic certification does not ensure good food!

Think about cross-contamination and unreliable organic standards. 

Also, think local first!

For instance, you are in the supermarket, and there are organic green beans from Kenya and Uganda. They say organic, but do you know their country’s organic standards? You may not know whether cross-contamination is involved, but you can definitely vouch for the carbon footprint. They have come from further away. This also means that they were picked early, which means fewer nutrients in the food.

Plus, they may be wrapped in plastic! Lots of organic food is wrapped in plastic because it has come from far away!

Vegetables

Buy local food when available. This is always best practice.

Say you are in the UK, and there are two types of broccoli to choose from. A local one and an organic one.

Go for local. It hasn’t come from far away, was picked more recently, and is more likely to be full of nutrients that will do you so much good. The bioavailability will be higher, and there will be no carbon footprint.

Loose vegetables without packaging are most likely the local kind. They are less expensive and better for you, and their nutrients have better bioavailability.

Look out for ‘Wonky’, ‘Rejected’, or ‘Inglorious’ vegetables that haven’t met the perfect criteria for ‘saleability’. A lot of UK supermarkets stock these to support local farmers and help stop waste because they used to get binned if they were not uniform in shape and size. An estimated 20-40% of fruits and vegetables are rejected before they reach the shops. 

The wonky veg will be loose, misshapen, and the ‘wrong’ size but will be perfectly delicious and good for you at a fraction of the price.

Fruit

Again, the same rules, and go for seasonal. Wherever you are in the world, purchasing fruit and vegetables when in season will ensure maximum nutrition and taste, as well as lowering the cost because they are in abundance.

So, if in the UK in the winter, go for local apples and pears. If in Australia, go for local rhubarb and oranges. During summer, in the UK, go for delicious strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. If you are in the Nordic countries, enjoy your wonderful bilberries and lingonberries too.

The smell and taste of fruit and vegetables will guide you.

Our tastebuds do not let us down. Food that is not contaminated and ultra-processed shines through.

Local, seasonal fruit and vegetables taste far superior.  Out-of-season will, of course, not have the same nutrients, color, and flavor.

Always choose a variety of colors, not just greens. Each vegetable has different polyphenols, for instance. Variety is key.

You may live in an area that produces local, wonderful anti-inflammatory products like honey and olive oil. Take advantage of local goods that will be incredible for your health.

Eggs

Free-range eggs are much better for you. The chickens will have been fed fewer grains and sourced their own foods, which makes these eggs higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish

If you are in North America or Canada, you have access to lots of wild salmon from Alaska, which is packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. It will do you the world of good.

However, if you do not have access to wild salmon, the salmon that is in your supermarket could be packed with unhealthy omega-6. So, don’t buy it. Go for local fish. It will be packed with nutrients.

So, if you are from the Gulf, go for local fish like amberjack or hogfish. If you are in the UK, go for cod, mackerel, and sardines. The tinned smaller fish are also packed full of anti-inflammatory properties. These oily fish are excellent examples of good fats for improving mental health, longevity, and weight loss and are powerful for reducing inflammatory and autoimmune issues. Also, smaller fish have lower mercury levels.

Think about the healthy fish that you have access to.

Meat

There are many meat options that are less expensive than, say, filet steak, and there are lots of recipes on Eat Burn Sleep that you can follow, like Slow Cooker Oxtail and Vegetables and Slowcooker: Oxtail, Tomato & Chorizo.

For instance, flavorsome collagen-rich meat, like oxtail or ox cheeks, is wonderful for your body, brain, and immune system.

What I do advise buying organic is chicken.

Chickens that are not organic are more likely to have been fed antibiotics (which ensures fast growth and plenty of meat, as well as protects them from disease).

In non-organic chicken, there is a higher use of antibiotics and steroids, which is absolutely terrible for your health.

When the chicken has been given antibiotics, we inherit those antibiotics, and it ruins our gut health. They can also make you immune to antibiotics and cancel out any effects, should you need them.

Your local butcher will often be less expensive than a supermarket and will supply local, free-range, and best-quality meat. If you can trust your local butcher, you should shop with them. They will give you good advice on which cuts of meat will be less expensive, and oftentimes, these cuts can contain more nutrients. For example, chicken thighs have darker meat, which is richer in B12 and flavor than chicken breast.

Enter the meat in the recipe section, and it is more than likely that if it is anti-inflammatory meat, there will be a recipe for you.

They may have some local venison, which makes for a change. Each food will bring different health properties.

You will be able to source where their meat comes from. If they haven’t got an organic stamp, it may be because there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get that stamp, yet they are supplying good, local meat that isn’t full of steroids. Their produce will not compromise your gut.

If you are on good terms with your butcher, they may reserve good, inexpensive cuts of meat for you.

Local businesses can price themselves well, and it is good to support them. They are often cheaper than supermarkets.

Better for your community and country, better value, and, of course, better for your health.

Processed Foods

Remember that processed foods and ultra-processed foods are not equal.

Processed foods are not always bad. A good quality sourdough or a nice bowl of homemade soup, for instance, are good for you, and they are processed. As soon as you start cooking with foods, it is processed. It depends on the type of food and what has been involved in the preparation and processing of it.

Of course, we make our Eat Burn Sleep soup with minimal fuss and gain maximum nutrition with no additives involved.

Ultra-processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods, though, are a whole different kettle of fish. They contain micronutrients, but they are the wrong kind and the wrong balance. They are created with fat, salt, and chemicals such as flavor enhancers, preservatives, and emulsifiers – and all in such a way that they create addiction. Without the fat, salt, and chemicals, these ‘foods’ would not resemble anything that you would want to put inside your body.

These are what cause ill gut health. They wipe out the good bacteria and increase the chance of weight gain, depression, metabolic disorders, joint issues, blood sugar dysregulation, and many chronic inflammation conditions. They are also responsible for recurring sicknesses, like being susceptible to viruses. If a virus has ever struck you and then looked at your diet that week, it is interesting to see a link oftentimes.

Ultra-processed foods remove good bacteria and put your state of health in a less-than-optimum one.

You may want to read these studies:

The direct impact of commonly used dietary emulsifiers on human gut microbiota. Naimi et al. (2021).

Dietary emulsifier-induced low-grade inflammation promotes colon carcinogenesis. Viennois et al. (2017).

Dietary emulsifiers directly alter human microbiota and gene expression. Chassaing et al. (2017).

Don’t Believe Everything You Read on Packaging

Keep in mind the power of marketing. Don’t be duped into believing that the ‘organic,’ ‘dairy-free,’ ‘gluten-free,’ and ‘healthy’ foods you have purchased are exactly what they claim to be. Look at the ingredients. You may have paid extra for something that is going to compromise your health.

Oftentimes, there are additives in ‘healthy’ foods, making them ultra-processed, that do the exact opposite. Check the ingredients. If there is an extremely long list of ingredients, look at each one. Take notes of ingredients that you might recognize, too, like soya lecithin, sunflower lecithin, and guar gum (because they are in everything!). They are used to stop ingredients from separating or to give the feeling of fullness and satisfaction, and the food processing industry puts them in so many foods. Peanut butter and nut milk would not look like they do without emulsifiers.

Check out the lists of additives that will cause gut dysbiosis, bloating, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, obesity, etc., in the Red Foods list. Also, if you haven’t seen it already check out the Masterclass on Additives, which goes further into the dangers of additives.

Also, check out the article about the AG1 supplement review, which contains soya lecithin. It is a reminder not to trust popular ‘healthy’ supplements, products, and foods.

Additives are legal and FDA-approved, but you have to look out for them because you cannot fully outsource health. Familiarise yourself with ingredients that will change gut bacteria.

A good general rule is to avoid food with long ingredients. The maximum is 10 ingredients. Again, make sure those ingredients are recognizable as real foods.

So, always read the labels. Make sure it becomes the default when you are shopping. Think, ‘How good is this for me?’, ‘Do I recognize the ingredients as foods?’, ‘Is the ingredient on the Red Foods list?’. Chances are, if you haven’t heard of the ingredient as a food, it is likely that it is a chemical.

Buy local over organic, and don’t stress. Stress is not good for your health, remember.

Be relaxed, do not aim for perfection, and just think about damage limitation.

You can watch/listen to a version of this in the Masterclass Live section.

 

 

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